moth id

Dr. James Adams jadams at
Thu Nov 20 11:03:07 EST 1997

Dear Mike,

 You wrote: 

>  Years
> ago (15 maybe), while collecting in Florida, I caught a day-flying
> wasp-type moth that LOOKS like it belongs in the Genus Syntomeida.  It
> has a black body and all red wings. The wings also have a black stripe
> along the outer margin.  It is a VERY distinctive moth.  My problem is
> more lack of resources.  I only have Covell's  and Holland's books for
> ID of Arctiids (anybody know if the "Moths of North America" series is
> ever going to do Arctiidae?).  Looking at the checklist, I am guessing
> it to be S. hampsonii - because S. ipomoeae, and S. epilais are both in
> covell, and becuase I would think S. melanthus (especially with the
> subsp. albifasciata) - would imply something white or black.

Syntomeida hampsonii (which actually belongs in the genus 
Phoenicoprocta) is found only in S. Arizona in the U.S., and S. 
melanthus is found only in S. Texas -- all members of the genus are 
typically dark moths with spots on the wings.

>  Any hints??? - Or, am I barking up the wrong family tree??

You've got the right family (Arctiidae) and the right subfamily 
(Ctenuchinae).  The species is Empyreuma affinis, a moth that can be 
common in the southern part of peninsular Florida.

>  And, finally, is
> there another book on Arctiidae I should be searching for???  I would
> love more info on this sub-family - especialy in the Spilosoma genus.  I
> have been rearing them to try to "figure out the different species" -
> but it is a slow process that I'm sure someone else has already done!!
Unfortunately, there are no great widely inclusive references for arctiid species of 
the U.S.  Ironic that when the Moths of North America (MONA) series 
was first being advertised that a plate of Tiger Moths was used to 
advertise it.  That was in the late 1960's.  1997 has rolled around, 
and from what I can surmise, the Lithosiinae, which represents a 
little under half of all the arctiid species in the U.S., have barely 
been started in terms of text and plates for the MONA fascicle, so 
who knows when, if ever, the fascicle will be published.  If you are 
interested in more information on arctiids, I may be able to help 
you, however, as I have done a lot of rearing of arctiids and and 
pretty familiar with much of the fauna of the U.S.  

Hope this information helps!

James Adams

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